People Daily Correspondent
The French government has lifted travel advisory on Mombasa and Malindi in a move that is likely to have immediate dividends on tourism in the region in the festive season.
French Ambassador to Kenya Remi Marechaux said the decision was reached following a review on the security measures the Kenyan government has put in place around the coastal region. The move will allow French citizens visit the two tourist hubs.
Last month, Tourism Minister Najib Balala and the envoy held a series of security meetings with various security agencies at the Coast to review measures.
“We are happy when our tourist source markets appreciate what the government has done in improving security especially in our tourism spots, and we hope all travel advisories to other parts of the country will be reviewed soon,” said Balala.
Applauding the move, Balala called on other countries that have not reviewed their travel advisories to consider doing so in appreciation of the government’s effort in scaling up security.
Negative travel advisory has seen the French market record a dip in performance with the current arrivals, as at the month of October, posting an 11 per cent drop with 14,048 visitors down from 15,938 in the same period last year.
Tourism in the coastal region, Balala said, has been on the decline in the recent past owing to insecurity that has led to cancellation of charter flights.
He said revision of travel advisories will send a positive message on the destination adding that recent incentives on charters to the coast was another major boost to the revival of tourism in the region.
The government has set aside Sh1.2 billion under charter incentives programmes set to begin on January 1 in a bid to boost visitor numbers.